Monday, July 24, 2006

Blogger Field Trip!

Through the efforts of Isaac Butler (author of the Parabasis blog), I along with several other theatre bloggers received complimentary tickets to see the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Pig Farm on Saturday. Mr. Butler’s reasoning for getting the bloggers together to see the show (written by Greg Kotis and directed by John Rando, the author and director, respectively, of Urinetown): because he loved it and the New York Times (specifically, Times theatre critic Charles Isherwood) did not. So, he wanted us bloggers to write about the show to counter Mr. Isherwood’s snide and dismissive review.

Well, why don’t I let Mr. Butler speak for himself? From his blog:

What is the Blogosphere Day about? It's simple. I saw Pigfarm. I thought it was hilarious. I thought that it got an incredibly unfair and dismissive review from Charles Isherwood in the New York Times (more on why I believe this tomorrow). I offered to organize a blogger night to attempt to get the word out about the show to the audience this show should have, namely people with an indie-theater sensibility.

So on Saturday, about seven of the theater bloggers I contacted and I went to see the show. We were given complimentary tickets and press packets. I asked them all to write about the show on Tuesday, and I'll be linking to the coverage then.

The idea here is not to stuff the ballot box but rather to democratize the process of opinion-making in theater. I believe that bloggers who didn't like the show should absolutely write about not liking it. And bloggers who want to respond to the show rather than straight-up review it should feel free to as well. My issue is, simply, that one paper has way too much power in this town. Regular readers of a blog (any blog) have a fairly good idea of the quality of taste of the person blogging, and therefore can have a more personal experience of the response piece written, and make a more educated decision as to whether or not to spend their money on a ticket to the show. It is, in a weird way, an attempt to appropriate the fundraising power of the leftist blogosphere, and adapt it to viewing plays. Hopefully, it will at least provide us all with an interesting "book club" for a day.

Hence, blogger field trip. Thanks, Isaac!

A number of theatre bloggers were in attendance (sans Mac Rogers and George Hunka, who are justifiably busy as all hell with their respective upcoming projects and Adam Szymkowicz, who is still in DC), some I’ve met, some I hadn’t before Saturday: Isaac, Joshua, Ian, Matt, Mark, Dan and myself. I have to say, it was (is) interesting to get to meet a number of these people face-to-face after having the bulk of your interaction being solely online.

I’ve been asked not to post anything until Tuesday, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to read my take on the play.

I am very curious how this turns out: if this becomes a “regular thing” the theatre blogosphere can and will do, if it does indeed democratize the process of opinion-making in theater and offer alternative opinion sources to the Times or if it turns out to be just a fun “book club,” as Mr. Butler says. Either way, I had fun at the outing and look forward to reading everyone else’s thoughts and assessments of the show.

I suppose I should start writing mine.

Eschewing the buddy system,

James "Rebel Without an Assigned Seat" Comtois


Blogger parabasis said...

Trhanks [sic] fpr [sic] the corrections! And the shout out!

I, in general, do not spell check my blog entries because (A) typepad's spell check function doesn't work on macs, (B) I post often from work and need to do it quickly and furtively, (C) I hate proofreading.

But perhaps I should go back and change those. It's embarassing!


2:13 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

What can I say? I'm a dick.

I was flopping back and forth on whether or not to correct them in the text myself or do the academic [sic], and (being a former student of English) decided to go for the latter, just for the sake of accuracy (I wasn't trying to make fun of you). If you do indeed change it on your site, I'll fix them on Jamespeak.

2:18 PM  

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